gfrancie: (sasek)
Getting through January. Some days the depression is under control, and other days it is a bastard beast. Some days I will have stray thoughts that are equally terrible and funny and I wish I could tell people these thoughts without them looking horrified or becoming worried. I want them to find the humor I can sift out of the awfulness of the moment. At the moment this is what holds me back from seeking therapy. I have these dreams of finding a therapist with the most fantastic sense of humor in the world. I need someone to laugh at the jokes. "If you want to help me get better then you need to show me your list of favorite comedies."
Really I want Carrie Fisher to be my imaginary therapist. Maybe I will just read her books over and over again. Someone who gets the jokes.

In other news as I watch the world burn, I have completely lost all patience with a number of passive people. I have lost all patience with those who voted for brexit. Whatever your reasons, they were terrible no good reasons and I am really really really angry that you have really fucked with the lives of so many people. I get it, you are mad but you got played once again by those in power. And you will always be played because you think you can win at shell games. Stop playing their shell games and you might not get so fucked. If you want to fuck up your finances? Fine. But I wish you hadn't fucked with mine. To all the people who voted third party or for Trump? Fuck you too. You are fucking things good and proper for a lot of innocent people. You picked out your very own piece of shit stooge who is controlled by the Russians. Good work. May you all get chronic rashes that aren't covered by any insurance company. Actually to be a little more fair and kind, the biggest fuck you of all goes towards the electoral college. But fuck those members and those voters who have too much power. May they only get sleeves of ritz crackers that are broken up into small pieces.



As for everyone else? I like you a lot. You are good looking and interesting and I would always invite you to my home for tea and cake and sarcasm. But the rest of you can eat your dry cake, and your badly made macaroni salad at the shitty potluck where the only vegetarian options are white bread and butter.
gfrancie: (sasek)
Every morning I look out the bedroom window. It looks out on the a huge expanse of pasture where sheep mostly live through-out the year. Right now we are in the stage in the year where every morning a large number of pregnant ewes are let into the field to wander, feed, and wait.
Some mornings I look out and see the affects of another winter storm in the night. As there is very little to protect us from the winds that come off of the sea, the wind hits the house sounding like a train that sees our house as a minor thing to bypass. Some mornings the sky is brilliantly blue, and the frost has been neatly painted on every inch of grass.
This morning I watched as a small red figure was trotting rather cheerfully across the field. A fox! It kept going on at a merry clip as if it had no cares and it knew the way to where it must go. It stopped suddenly to investigate a hole belonging to a rabbit or a stoat. Then I saw a dog in the distance. (sniffing, and doing what dogs do.) And I thought it was odd that the fox hadn't taken notice of the dog. A bit brazen if you ask me. I thought, maybe since I didn't have my glasses on that I had made a mistake and it was a dog after all. But then I saw as the fox turned its head and spotted the hound, and it immediately began to race back from when it had came.
gfrancie: (sasek)
I ghosted from FB. I have had some messages from people asking if I am okay. I am taking a mental health break for a little bit from that. I am okay.
Mostly I want to like people, and sometimes you have to do things to preserve that side.
gfrancie: (sasek)
I watched that vegas stage show abortion (also known as a Trump press conference) and I am filled with such intense rage. I hope the press will find their appropriate chutzpah-filled reproductive organs, and bring fire on the motherfucking pyrex bowl of corn-studded diarrhea that is Donald Trump. I want that man to feel the fire of fear against his cheeks when he faces the American public. I want to do everything within my power to bring down that bastard tyrant. Yes it may be sometime before I can come home to the states to visit, but I will provide support and encouragement every fucking day.
The tyrant must fall.

Civility is over.

If you voted for that discount cunt rag reject, you have your own sins to sort through. We shall show this expired gas station tuna salad sandwich what hell is.
gfrancie: (sasek)
Mr. Jenner had his back turned to me as he was getting himself a drink. I was sitting at the table reading the news. I muttered to myself, "Oh you Motherfucker."
Mr. Jenner paused from making himself a drink and said, "Politician?
I said, "Don't you know it."
gfrancie: (sasek)
Ordered a fleece that says, #resist.
Now to make myself go running this week.

The grand hope/plan today is to make a bunch of speculaas. The children ate the last of our batch and have asked for more. See! Throwing that pile of cookie dough in the freezer has paid off. We are down to the last quarter of the Christmas cake. (it may last a few more days between Mr. Jenner and Senor Onion. They are the biggest fans of Christmas cake in this house.) Maybe I will buy a big bag of bread flour and pour all of my emotional energy into baking bread for awhile. Nothing else will be accomplished but we will have toast. Come the revolution we will have toast. (someone should embroider that on a pillow.)
gfrancie: (sasek)
I went running after a few days of not running. (Weather, scheduling, grueling SAD. The usual excuses in January.) I discovered that my zip on my fleece is falling apart. Time to consider a new jacket as this one is slowly going home to the great closet in the sky. It was a freebie from an earlier incarnation of my husband's job. I stole borrowed it from my husband when I first began running because I wasn't sure if this was going to be an abandoned folly and I didn't want to invest too much in things. (other than the shoes. It stuck, as did the jacket. It was THE jacket I wore while running. The leggings and shirt have changed here and there, as have the shoes. But the jacket remained. Now that jacket would like to take a bow.
I began to peruse the jackets out there. People also have a lot of opinions about such things. I know what my needs are, and they are simple. Zips, pockets, and keeps my upper body/neck warm so that those particular muscles don't act up. Oh and visible so people in cars can see me. (especially when it is foggy out -like this morning.)
Tempted by a cheap ebay number because they do free text embroidery and I could have them put, "#resist". A friend suggested "Fuck it" or "Running is for losers". All are appealing. Especially when showing up to the school yard.
Something to contemplate.

It was such a god damn battle to make myself go this morning. "In half an hour. No really... though it is raining." I had to announce to everyone, "I am going. I. AM GOING!" And damn if it didn't help kick some of the SAD right in the kidneys. At least it will for awhile.
gfrancie: (sasek)
It is Epiphany!
When I was growing up, that was when we got to sing, "We Three Kings of Orient" at mass. All of the verses. Father H. (a nice man with a rather pronounced Northern Irish accent that had not softened despite several decades in the US.) liked to take a rather deliberate and slow pace. (my mom had opinions about that as she was often playing the organ.) Everyone would end up quite exhausted by the end.
"Oh thank god we only have to do that once a year."

SAD came and tried to eat me up today. Sometimes that is a day in January for you. Or a week.
gfrancie: (Margo Channing)
For the most part, my anger/disappointment (over Brexit, and the US election) kind of fuel me so that I don't fall into a certain place in the abyss. My MO tends to be, "Fuck this shit." The sort of person who grabs a bat and says, "Let's go fight fascists!!! Let's obstruct every god damn thing! Let's do this."

I was watching the Christmas special of "Outnumbered" and every so often a character would stare into the distance and look shell-shocked and dejected and someone would say, "you okay?" and they would respond, "Yeah... you know... Trump." (it was a funny gag) Then the other night I glanced at the calendar and saw how soon Trump's swearing in will be and there was that swoosh dropping feeling and I found myself staring into the middle distance (probably with that shocked look upon my face) "shit... this is really happening. Trump!?! This is real." At least with Brexit the chaotic limbo kind of allows us to tell ourselves the lie, "oh well... maybe it won't happen. Maybe people will wise up." (but then I remember British people sure love to suck down a bowl of misery, the way other people like to breathe. But on the other hand the present government is so busy trying to act like they have a plan, that they may beg for an extension like a shit student.) So it always remains just a tiny bit out of reach. But the stumpy-fingered wannabe in the poorly tailored suit who thinks he is gonna get respect... that bogeyman is real as hell. Him and all his goblins who are trying to gain favor so they can enjoy their pet project of fucking over America and the world. Never have I wanted so many to be shoved off a cliff like that terrible lemmings film. "oh they can't help themselves, they like leaping off of cliffs. wink wink"

I only allowed myself to sit with that terror for about five minutes. I have things to do. I have battles to fight. I give myself those five minutes now and then, and then dig deep to find more energy because like many there isn't a choice about giving up and walking away. There are human lives at stake, and I can't watch a bunch of assholes try and casually murder a bunch of people. So I do my little bit here and there. It seems so small but my hope is, that many small things will lead to better things and a little bit of relief now and then. I am trying to squash my fear and not let all those fuckos take my courage or anyone else's.
gfrancie: (sasek)
I have lived in the UK for four and a half years. On Sunday, I ordered a lamp from Habitat. I do believe my slow descent into middle class white British person (who reads the Guardian, and can pronounce hygge) is nearly complete. Someone needs to tell me what the final steps are? Do I have to go on holiday to a certain place? Or do I have to have a child called Caius or Vera? How about I just claim my children are called Thor and Tamsin. That would probably satisfy someone.
The lamp is all part of my effort to make the living room a little bit brighter. Sure those adorable Danish like low cozy lights, but I am on a mission to stay slightly sane in the grey months. I have my light box, but I want as much light as possible. I told Mr. Jenner, "My great desire is for nothing but old school hundred million watt bulbs. Maybe even brighter. I want it to almost feel like the Stasi are about to interrogate me. Well okay maybe not that bright." (but close.)
These so-called environmentally friendly bulbs lose their appeal real quick when it takes forever for them to come on; and over time they slowly lose their brightness. One begins to feel like a mole person.
Yes yes yes I know about different bulbs and I use them when I can. I may keep some fairy lights up for awhile as well. Gonna make it look like a god damn Vegas light display. But with books, and many blankets. And no floor show. Unless you count Miss Biscuit yelling when she is playing a computer game.

fie I say.

Jan. 1st, 2017 04:29 pm
gfrancie: (sasek)
My birthday was yesterday.
It was another low-key affair -a continuing theme for the month of December. There were presents from the family, I left everyone to their own devices, and then I made a black forest cake. When I was a kid, my Grandma would often come over around my birthday, and she would bring an angel food cake. (which I loved a lot. She made great angel food cake. and if she didn't ice it, she would have whipped cream and strawberries for it.) But if she wasn't in town, my mom would get a black forest cake for me. I have always thought it was so elegant and decadent looking. It had all sorts of flavors and textures and of course whipped cream. (I have always been a sucker for whipped cream with cake.) It has been years and years since I have had one for my birthday. I think a couple of years ago I got a frozen one from the grocery store and it was tolerable. But not a really delicious cake. People ask me, "Why don't you get someone else to make it?" I veer between polite and vicious when answering this. I don't live near any bakeries that make something like this. (Rural Cornwall has many offerings but big fuck-off Germanic cakes? Not so much.) And then there is another hard cruel truth about British cake-baking -cakes here tend to be dry. (which is fine if that is the sort of thing you want, and British people tend to favor that sort of thing.) I didn't want a dry cake. This was a case of knowing exactly what I wanted and knowing I had to make it so I could have it. (much of my life in food and cooking has been about getting what I want.) I also like making cakes. I have made enough cakes in my life that it is a relaxing task. I can let go and lose myself for awhile when playing at kitchen chemistry. So I made that cake. I sliced the layers, filled it with whipped cream, and cherry compote. I covered it in more whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and then piped on more whipped cream, and placed cherries on top. I thought to myself, "Just what I wanted." I served it at tea. Mr. Jenner enjoyed his slice, the children were suspicious. But who cares. I was happy.
Then I tried out my new fondue pot that I got for Christmas, and we ate our weight in cheese sauce, bread, vegetables, and sausages. Damn fine way to do it.

I watched the Whit Stillman film, "Love & Friendship" which is an adaptation of Jane Austen's "Lady Susan". If you are familiar with his other work, it doesn't seem much of a stretch for him to do a period piece involving people talking a lot about manners, society, and behavior. Stillman really knows Kate Beckinsale's strengths as an actor. (they worked together in Last Days of Disco, and she was great as this passive-aggressive bitch.) I think Beckinsale is a comedian at heart and that is when she really shines. Her character is manipulative, clever, and Beckinsale's comedic timing was great. You know this character is kind of awful but you can't help but be amused by her. It isn't exactly an anti-hero character but the hard truth about how sometimes a woman has to work with the limitations of society and scheme for the sake of security and power. (I am always going to admire a woman who finds a way to hustle the patriarchy.)

It is an honor to make it around the sun again -as many don't get that. But I sneak around this new age with suspicion. I don't feel anywhere near it. I sort of want to throw a hissy fit, "NO NO NO... I am not ready to be that age. Give me another five or ten years and maybe I can approach it." But I have to tell myself to quit acting like a bitch baby and accept this gift with some grace. (I can't even ask for a gift receipt.)

So here we are. A new year, and a taste for beating some fascists.
gfrancie: (sasek)
I am going to moan awhile. This nasty awful cold that can't make up its mind about what it wants to do. MAKE UP YOUR MIND YOU BASTARD! Right now it is hanging out in my chest. This means I get to cough a lot and while it makes noises about being a productive cough it is about as lazy as a thirteen year old boy who has been told to clean his disgusting room. How many fucking warm drinks can I get in me, and how much codeine can I take? Not enough. I may just live in a hot bath until the very end of the year.
This year the Royal Mail, other carriers, and assorted customs has disappointed me. My brother had sent a joint birthday/christmas gift to my son and it didn't show up (despite being sent in November) and we had to do a bit of detective work to find out that it was hanging about in customs waiting for a tariff to be paid on it. Allegedly they contacted the "cosignee" twice. No they did not. Thankfully after a few phone calls, I got to the right person and paid the tariff. Fucking hell... It should be on its way to us. Then a package I had sent my sister (some weeks ago) sat around in customs in the UK for awhile, and then the package was torn open, and hastily put back together. And several things were missing. (including photos of my children for my Mom, and this rather special birthday card for my sister. Nothing of great monetary value but it is the sentiment.) I had a good ol' winge at Royal Mail and they told me I could file a claim. (My sister was helpful in sending me photos of the state of the package to add to my claim.) Who knows what will happen. But lordy people... do your damn job. I carefully packaged things up so that it would be safe and apparently everyone was tossing shit about like assholes.
I am going to try and mail some things next week, maybe by then, people will be somewhat sober and make an effort.

A good thing: My sister in law Kim (who is an artist) brought me an early birthday gift. It was this fantastic painting that I had admired. It is massive. Big as fuck, and a gorgeous piece of abstract expressionism. (something I really love.) She said it is called Sid. The name has a whole wonderful story. She used some tools when working on the painting that were made by her Granddad Sid. He was a man who had worked down the pits as a miner up north. She told me that he was a man who made tools, did a bit of painting, and all manner of creative things. I loved his story. I said, "it just shows that everyone can have a creative life, and that all humans need it in some fashion or another."
I really love this painting a lot. It is hanging about in the dining room, while I figure out where to put it. Possibly in the front hall, so that you are greeted by it when you come into the house. BAM A WALL OF ART!
gfrancie: (sasek)
Home for Christmas this year. The grand plan was to keep things a little more quiet and laid back this year. I do miss Christmas with my family (because everyone is a lot of fun. We laugh, we yell, and eat, and hang about and it is quite free-form.) but it is also nice to wake up in a not so jet-lagged state of mind. We were also aiming to avoid the Christmas of two years ago when we were home, and everyone was in a state of some kind of sickness or another AND we were to host people for Christmas day. The day then started with Mr. Jenner fainting in the bathroom. (and he wasn't responsive for less than a minute as his brain was rebooting itself.) He was fine, but he wasn't very well, we carried on and tried to have a Merry Christmas but I could feel myself slowly coming down with something. That tiny tickle of the throat that can't be cleared, one's face feeling like it was too close to a fire, even when in a cold room, and the slight but growing ache of the joints. And so on.
And some other years Christmas has been a case of over-stimulation with a million god damn relations, enforced jolliness, with a million games, and a less than delicious ham. Those who have been witness to my Christmas stories can well remember the years of 24 assorted relations (yes, 24) at dinner, a million fucking games, and me running off to hide so I don't completely lose it. (my husband's family is large, and filled with very nice people who like to play games. A LOT.)
Our goal was to do a bit better than that this year and I think we succeeded.
There were full stockings for the kids, cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and we had a nice (if bleary-eyed) chat with my Mom via skype. (She had finished midnight mass and was finishing up things. (because my Mom is always finishing up things on Christmas Eve.)
The kids really loved all of their presents, and then we tidied up that first round of wrapping paper to host my husband's parents, and his Nan for a late morning visit. They brought loads of gifts (which the kids enjoyed.) including robots for each of the kids. And yet the things that the kids really took to, were the globe for Senor Onion, and the portable/roll-up chalkboard for Miss Biscuit. They are fairly modern children with a great love for minecraft, computers, and electronic games, but they also embraced lego, and pipe cleaner crafts. And of course all their books. It was a delightful visit. Mr. Jenner's Nan (better known as Nanny D) always gets me the best gifts. (usually books.) This year she gave me a DVD copy of, "39 Steps" (the Hitchock version, and one of my favorite movies) and a novel by Elizabeth Bowen. (which I read in the bath that night.) I don't have any Grandmas about anymore so it is fun to have that relationship a bit with her. She is this little old lady from south London who likes to do crafty things, is a deeply faithful C of E church-goer, a former guide-leader, and very very funny at times. She always smells of soft powdery perfume, and while she is going to be 87 next year, and can be anxious at times, she still goes on holiday with her cousin Dot to interesting places. She also has great stories about being evacuated as a kid during the war. Today at Boxing Day lunch, she was telling us about her mother who was great at always having loads of tea on hand despite rationing, and how she could make stuffed lamb's heart that was quite good. She calls you lovey and tells you how great it is to see you. Seriously we could all use a Nanny D.
After their visit, (they were on their way to have Christmas lunch with my middle brother in law and his family.) we cleared up yet more wrapping paper, and let people do their own thing for awhile. I put together the rest of our smorgasbord. (which didn't take very long, and was rather relaxing.) We had assorted cured meats, wild boar pate, some warm roasted duck breast, roasted potatoes, sausages wrapped in bacon, pickled herring, beet root and apple salad, fruit, crudite, Danish remoulade, hummus, cheeses, crackers, bread, butter, assorted condiments, gravy, and a few other things which I likely forgot. No one goes hungry if I am in charge. We ate and ate and ate. Then we returned to lazing about and enjoying the calm.
I attempted to tidy the kitchen, and win at fridge tetris.
Much of the day it was foggy and rainy, so not a lot of opportunity to go out for a walk. We noticed the occasional neighbor out, but it was mostly to walk dogs, or to visit family/friends along the lane.
Then there was the pudding which I had spent the morning steaming. (second one.) We managed to pour brandy on it and have it catch on fire, but then the pan in which the warmed brandy was in, ALSO caught fire. It was an amusing moment. "Oh... well.. let's put this fire away for a bit."
The rest of the day was devoted to a bit of tv, more lego, talking to two of my siblings via skype, (which was so good. I miss them and haven't seen them in a year. 2016 was like that. So many possible plans that never happened.) listening to stories and music, lightly dozing, and petting the cat. We had agreed to let the children stay up as late as they wanted but thought they might give in.
But come one, these people are related to me. I come from a long line of night owls on both sides. Their genes are STRONG for staying up late. I was so worn out that I gave in before they did. "fine. FINE. YOU WIN!" I told Mr. Jenner, "you are on your own, I need a bath and bed."
I have a cold, and it leaves me wrecked at times. It is this chest cold that sometimes likes to hang out elsewhere, so my tonsils swell up and hurt but it isn't serious because I lack a fever, and my tonsils aren't looking gross. It is just... a half-assed cold that lingers.
It makes sleep... interesting.
But yet, Christmas was lovely.

typical.

Dec. 22nd, 2016 11:51 pm
gfrancie: (sasek)
I felt like a witch because I beat the weather Gods. I was able to go running before it began to rain. In fact it was quite pretty out. Then it went sideways when I took a shower. I AM THE WEATHER GOD NOW!
We are doing our best to be lazy lumps this fine day but I still managed to do a couple of things like bake more mince pies. They are all right as British Christmas food goes but they aren't my favorite. Mr. Jenner, and Senor Onion like them. So I bake them. There was heart-break earlier today when Senor Onion discovered that his father had eaten the last one. I think he could have handled it better but his father had ALSO eaten the last piece of fudge the other day and well this was the limit. Thankfully we had mince meat in the house, and pastry is easy to make. Senor Onion won't have to maim his father today.

I took Miss Biscuit to the village children's Christmas party. It is technically in the next village, but everyone in the surrounding area shows up. I remember taking Senor Onion to his first one when he was about two years old, when we were visiting one Christmas. It was notable because he caught his first cold there, I was newly pregnant with my second, caught said cold and because of my condition could not take any fun medication. (and I hadn't told anyone I was pregnant yet so I wasn't drinking either.) And I recall one child beating a pinata with such fierceness and shouting, "I WILL MURDER YOU!" (Merry Christmas indeed motherfuckers.) Oh and some less than hot tea. Senor Onion chose to stay home this year. I said, "but you won't get a gift from father christmas!" "That's cool. I am going to play minecraft."
So off we went to the party. It was a bit like walking into the Beaux Art Ball scene in "American in Paris". Lots of screaming, some in costume, loud music, and general chaos. Plus art. Lots of arty activities. It is well organized by some mothers who hold a weekly playgroup for their babies/toddlers. There were activities to do, crafts to make, screaming and running around to engage in. At least two children were in tears at various points. (Including mine.) I found my sisters in law. One just had her birthday so I brought her a present. Then I had a chat with the other about Christmas Eve. We are having her, her boyfriend, and all the kids over for tea time, and of course dinner. I promised my twin nieces that there would be a lot of sweets. And maybe a movie. Because I am the fun auntie who always has baked goods, and candy. And I never tell you to eat your vegetables. (just my children. EAT YOUR FUCKING CARROTS, you don't want rickets.) Ran into a few other people I don't see very often. P. (who grew up with my sister in law Kat,) was in town with her kids (visiting family.) P's daughter met my son, at Kat's wedding a number of years back and while they don't see each other all of the time (usually about once a year, as they now live in Wales in the middle of nowhere.) they have always gotten along and love seeing each other. (Senor Onion was a little bit disappointed when he heard that B. had been there and he had missed her. I will have to find a way for them to meet up.) The tea (after all these years) is slightly less than hot, but free tea is free tea. Then there was the giant tea and cake time for the kids. Miss Biscuit the ever picky child chose to eat caramel corn, satsumas, and jaffa cakes. Well... at least she won't get scurvy. Or something. Then there was the pinata. There is always the pinata. And it was kind of terrifying to watch the children swoop in on the candy. This circle imploded and became a sea of legs and screams. (and minor injuries) At one point, one of the kids was wearing the dismembered pinata horse's head on their own head. A small child got a hold of the stick, and thwacked Miss Biscuit with it. I don't think he had intended to do it but she ended up with a nice bruise on her shoulder.

Finally it was time for the main event. Father Christmas! He is considered THE Father Christmas in this area. Yes Father Christmas has a west country accent but he has been everyone's Father Christmas for over thirty years. We all love to see him, and this is what he does so well. All the children got presents, and raced around with glee. There was a moment when V. (one of the children) told Miss Biscuit, "He isn't the real Father Christmas. Father Christmas is fake." I stepped in, side-eyed little V. and said, "You seem awfully sure about things. Isn't it lovely to get a present from someone who thinks everyone deserves a gifts and each one is so thoughtfully picked out. What a pretty doll you have there." Then I hustled Miss Biscuit away from that potential crime scene. Miss Biscuit hasn't given up on Santa Claus yet and frankly children need all the little bits of magic in life before it turns into back aches, and tax forms. She loved her new whale shark toy.
We had our fill of fun, and went home to make macaroni and cheese.
gfrancie: (sasek)
I think I am done with Christmas shopping. Let's go with the theory that I am done. I have a few things to wrap. (christmas stocking related stuff for the kids mostly.) I am feeling slightly optimistic about all of that. This morning I went further afield to do a bit of food shopping and see if I could find some things that aren't always found in the nearest town. Lo I did. Morbier cheese isn't exactly found in most parts of Cornwall, but gosh darn someone had it today. It is one of my favorites and usually I have to get it from London. Another fun cheese to add to the giant cheese board at Christmas. At the moment we are at around ten cheeses. I figure some for Christmas Eve, and some for Christmas Day. And hey let's make a cheese ball as well. We are not lactose intolerant, we are lactose excited! Our Christmas food traditions are quite the mesh of... Norwegian/Italian/British. So there is something for everyone. (mostly fish, cheese, fruit cake, and ALL OF THE BUTTERY BAKED GOODS IN EXISTENCE) While it was still morning and a week day in the grocery store, there was definitely that slightly frantic energy you get in a Sainsbury at this time of year. Not quite like the 23rd of December when you think people might have a stroke while perusing the Stilton but close. I passed by the "useless gifts you give for white elephant gift exchanges, and relations you don't exactly know or like" section. Every year there is the section devoted to spiced pears/peaches in slightly attractive jars. I get giving people home-made ones but something about handing over some from the grocery store really says, "I don't know you, and I really don't want to."
The drive home was spent listening to a radio program about the Aboriginal relationship with country music. When the rest of their culture was being taken from them, this was a medium they could use to express their feelings and identity. Illuminating and rather beautiful. It was a way to pass on the oral tradition while appearing respectable and more like the white folk. Subversive and brilliant.

It has been a quiet lazy day. There are plans to do things later in the week, but I like the allowance for time to do our own things, and go with the slow quiet pace of impending winter. Tomorrow is the Solstice. Time to light all the lights and lure the sun back to us once again. Maybe we will have the fire going, and roast some of the marshmallows I made.
gfrancie: (housewife)
Hey! I have some new LJ friends. And for the first time in many years I have to make a little introduction. I like long walks in the park, summer rain, mom's chili... wait... that's a playboy profile.

Let's see... where to begin. I was born in Seattle, (raised in Port Townsend -about two hours away from Seattle if you want driving times) and then I came back to Seattle as an adult. I began to use Livejournal not long after I turned 21, so this freaking thing has been around a good long time. Anyhow, I met a nice Englishman (who was brought to the states by Microsoft) and eventually I married him. He is better known as Mr. Jenner. (and he has an LJ but I don't think he updates it anymore.) He is a quiet dude who is patient about my daily ravings over dinner. We have a couple of kids; Senor Onion, who is 10. He is sort of a quiet figure (like his Dad) and as he has gotten older I don't mention him as much because I respect his privacy. He is pretty awesome and very funny. Then there is my daughter Miss Biscuit who is 7. She is a real pistol. Imagine living with a Shirley Temple who likes swords and power. She is also very funny. About four and a half years ago, we decided to have an adventure and we moved to England. That means I now live in rural Cornwall (near my husband's family. They are here and there in neighboring villages and towns.) surrounded by many sheep and attractive views. It was quite a change to go from living in Madison Valley in Seattle to... well.. fields. And absolute quiet. The village I live in has a couple hundred people, a church, a school, a tea room, a pub, and a post office that is open a couple days a week. I have to drive a few miles (lots of winding roads, escaping sheep, and narrow lanes) to a bigger village just to buy milk and things.
In February of this year I became a duel citizen. That's right, I rock a couple of passports like the rest of my immediate family. I believe I even pledged an oath to the little old lady with the handbag and the hat.

What do I do with myself the rest of the time? I keep the house from falling down, I make sure people have clean socks, and sometimes I write. I have a few things here. Go ahead. Read it. Tell someone that they should pay me to write things. And sometimes I travel. (not much this year because well.. not much has been typical. That is all I will say about that.) The other thing I do is cook. A lot. It keeps me from going too mad. I like to talk about food, cooking, history, movies, books, domestic history, my assorted family, running, and the strange customs and habits of the British nation. And whatever else comes into my head. Like many people, I live with anxiety and depression. (obviously some days are better than others.) I don't think exercise is a cure for everyone and everything, (because it isn't. Thank the gods for medicine, therapy, and supportive people.) but running has been incredibly important in managing my anxiety. Some days I hate the sight of my running shoes and it takes a bit of effort on my part to get on my gear and get out the door but I am always much happier once I get going.

At the moment I am working my way through the discography of Bruce Springsteen. (in chronological order.) I am reading a big fuck off book about German culture (which is helping me to understand England, and Europe over all.) and a book about Lord Woolton.

I have never been to Olive Garden. I have never watched Strictly Come Dancing. I think green bell peppers ruin everything. I like watching Cary Grant movies. I have an orange stripey cat named Oscar. Live birds in the house completely terrify me. I am really good at growing strawberries. I can do cartwheels. I think haggis is pretty good. And I really really love a good American-style milkshake. (the best ones are at Don's pharmacy in my home town. I will fight you if you disagree.)
gfrancie: (sasek)
I needed to clean the fridge. Really. It was beginning to smell, and I needed to clear out a few things and organize everything for Christmas. It began all right as I wiped things down, but I kept wondering about the smell. I removed the crisper drawer and found some standing water which was odd. I wondered if the the drain was blocked. I cleaned that up, and then I was brave and began to break down other bits (ah German design at its best -everything can be taken apart and cleaned well) and found the horrible horrible cause. There is this catch-all/plate that grabs any water/built-up condensation and leads it down to the drain. But something had blocked it. Somehow a god damn string cheese (still in the packaging) had wedged itself in there and this mold grew and OH DEAR LORD IT IS TOO HORRIBLE TO DESCRIBE...
Let's just say it was truly disgusting. I may have discovered some new form of penicillin, and maybe I will win a Nobel prize at a later date. Or I could have but I decided it was better to burn everything, say a lot of decades of the rosary, and hope to God a witch could come around and clear the dark spirits. Things are much better now.
BLEACH EVERYTHING!
And now my fridge has plenty of room for all the cheese, and other elements for a smorgasbord next weekend.

In other less mold-themed news, I went for a run. My plan was (between cold medication, and hot showers) to sweat out this head cold. The only downside was that the cold air made it feel like my sinuses were being stabbed. But I can breathe a little bit better now, and my hips hurt a little bit less. Nothing about my hips makes sense. (trying to find a comfortable sleeping position for my head, means my hips are taking a beating. Being in my thirties appears to be one long hassle in things creaking.) It was a lovely time out despite the imaginary nose stabbings.
gfrancie: (sasek)
The head cold finally came for me.I tried really hard to keep it away but caring for a couple of sick kids and being up with them in the night (it reminds me a bit of when they were babies) over the past week has worn me down. I also got a letter saying Miss Biscuit's appointment with the consultant has been moved from the 30th of December to... something in March. It isn't a life or death situation. I am sympathetic to what is going on with the NHS as the moment. But lordy... what a bother.

BUT despite all of that, things are not too shabby. We have a tree!!!! It is up and everything. It is a heck of a tree. A Nordmann fir. I thought about going for a noble fir (because they provide a lot of room for hanging the eighty million ornaments we own.) But then I was drawn to this tree. It becomes a whole thing when going to the tree farm. I go to the section the tree farmer directs me towards, I wander while the children complain, and eventually I find THE ONE. I found it, put a tag on it and then wandered a bit more to make sure it was the one. (and it was.)
I have noticed that British people tend to favor trees that are slightly rounded. Almost pudding-like. I know that the Nordmann has gained some traction in Britain in recent years due to the fact that it doesn't drop so many needles. I had a nice chat with the farmer about the norway spruce that Prince Albert favored when he was pushing trees on the nation. (Foreigners coming here... improving the culture)
We discussed the favored varieties in the US. They dug my knowledge of trees. I had to name-drop my home state. "Well... it IS the evergreen state." (they don't let you out unless you know your trees.)
On the drive home from the farm it was late afternoon, which was the perfect time for murmurations. We saw large ones racing towards this super-sized one that was engaged in a major dance. It was such a sight. The kids were the first to spot it. (probably their favorite part of the journey) Mr. Jenner and Senor Onion aren't as enthusiastic as Miss Biscuit and I are when it comes to doing up the tree. "that's nice." I wrestled lights onto it, and then she and I put on ALL of the ornaments. It is getting easier every year to watch as she puts ornaments on the tree. It may not be where I would have placed things but she is getting there. Yes I still do a tiny bit of adjusting. (mostly for things that are hanging on by very little and in danger of falling off.) But I respect what she brings to the game. She is learning a complicated skill. The house is thoroughly christmased. We have five trees in the house this year. I am kind of proud of this. Everywhere you go there is greenery, trees, lights, and decorations. I even found some real mistletoe today, which I popped on the mantle.

Tomorrow I lay in bed for awhile and practice the fine art of being a sick person. Though I may go into town to get fun drugs to deal with this sinus situation.
gfrancie: (sasek)
I went up to London for a few days earlier this week. It was good to run away and ignore the world for a awhile. Not everyone has that luxury. But it was handed to me, and it allowed me to catch my breath, and right myself. I saw art, I saw friends, had a few good meals, did a great deal of walking, and some shopping. I looked at all of the lights, immersed myself in the hum of the city, and watched so many things. I could have done more but it was enough. For now. I need to pop back up in a couple of months. More to see and experience. The best was seeing friends from the states over dinner. And there were presents. I gave N. a glass ornament made by a local artist, and she gave me peppermint joe-joe's. It was a pretty even trade. Plus a gorgeous meal at ottolenghi. (I can always eat there.) The RA exhibit of abstract expressionism was astounding. And it wasn't too crowded. I think my one complaint is that sometimes I wish the experience could be pretty silent. Like being in church or at prayers. Vs. listening to people tell other people their opinions about the art, but that is just me being a whiny baby. "Shhhh I am trying not to cry when I look at this de Kooning. I don't want to hear you say what it is supposed to be about."
I poked about in a number of bookshops, and also spent time at the National Gallery. I was having a weird batch of anxiety and going to sit in a gallery and look at paintings did a lot of good. It brought me back down. Go and stare at Van Goghs up close for awhile if you can. What a whirl.
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